The automated datacentre

The automated datacentre

Posted on February 10, 2012 by TheStorageChap in Automation, Data Center

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I had to travel to Dubai earlier this week and had a really interesting meeting with an organisation that wants to create a distributed datacentre between two large cities in UAE and then a third copy of the data at a site in the UK. This functionality will be enabled over the coming few months at which time we will be able to provide a simply awesome solution, but that is not the reason for this post.

The reason for the post is that what impressed me most about this trip was the level of automation at the check-in for Emirates airlines and as a result the subsequent ease and vastly reduced time it took me to get through.

As you walk into the vast Emirates terminal you are presented with an automated check-in booth, but what sets this apart from the ones that we see in Heathrow and elsewhere is that it also checks in your bags automatically. In Heathrow for example you check-in at an automated booth to get your boarding pass but then have to get in a queue to drop your bags off, which always seemed like you were defeating the object.

Behind this automated check-in process is probably a level of system complexity and requirement for availability  that would put most datacentres to shame, but the point is that as an end-user consumer you know nothing about it. I walked in, went straight to a free terminal, scanned my passport, chose my seat, printed and attached my luggage tag and watched my suitcase disappear down the belt in the hope that it would appear in Heathrow.

In my mind I drew several analogies….

Firstly, what is the point of replicating data automatically between sites, if you then have to queue up and wait to perform a manual failover of applications between datacentres. Highly available datacentres with automated failover or continuous availability are quickly becoming the norm.

Secondly, creating awesome solutions often requires integrating complex technologies together into a seamless solution. My role and the role of any pre-sales person is to be able to tell a story about the future, the journey to get there and the value that can be achieved for the end-user consumer of the infrastructure or application.

Thirdly, the future datacentre is automated. This does not mean that IT staff are made redundant, but rather that they are freed from fire-fighting to actually add value back to the business by looking at new ways to further automate and enable additional efficiencies.

Over the next few months I will start to look at how, at a high level, we can start to take some key EMC technologies and integrate them together to create seamless solutions that can enable efficiency and automation.